Like Knitting with Chocolate

I’ve spent the last month considering my colour habits in knitting, specifically my relationship with the colour brown. (Well, I’ve done other things in the last month, too, but you understand). In all my colour selections in the past I’ve tended to avoid brown just as an impulse, because I usually associate it with all the other earthy tones like mustard yellow and rusty orange and reds that veer dangerously close to those first two sorts of shades. I like purples, pinkish reds, teals, and blues, and that’s that.

My Cabled Swing Cardi for Rhinebeck was the first point of re-consideration, and as a last-minute Rhinebeck knit I made up a second pair of Maine Morning Mitts in the pink-and-purple-o-riffic shade of Noro Silk Garden #251. And it finally sunk in that brown doesn’t always have to sit next to rusty earth tones, and that perhaps it is actually a pretty nice mix with the purples and reds and teals that I already love.

That same weekend I cast on for this pair of Jaywalkers, and my suspicions were confirmed:


This is my 3rd pair of Jaywalkers in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (5th pair overall), in the curiously named colourway of “Pilsen”. Whenever I’ve taken them out with me as travel knitting, they’ve received compliments and inquiries about the yarn, which I definitely take as a good sign. If brown can interact with these shades then I’m a fan. It’s not rust, it reminds me of truffles or berries dipped in chocolate, or layer cakes with cream and raspberries piled on top.


So I decided to put my new appreciation of brown to the test on another small canvas, as I simultaneously gave in to the comforting wall of Patons Classic Merino on a recent yarn trip. I always look at the wall of Patons Classic with such longing and hope, because it’s a pretty stand-up basic yarn and does the trick for just about anything you want, even if it does lack some of the sturdiness of lanolin-y sheepswool. I am always left with the compulsion to walk out with an armload of it for a sweater but I always resist. And you know, it turns out gloves are pretty satisfying too:


This is the glove pattern from Patons leaflet #1159, ‘Convertibles, Gloves, and Nordic Mittens’, which I’ve used a few times now and keep going back to because I like the snug use of 3.25mm needles combined with the Patons Classic, and geekily I like the way the thumb gusset is constructed. Sadly I think this is now out of print, but if you ever do come across one of these pattern leaflets I recommend it. I’m combining the shades ‘Petal Pink’ and ‘Chestnut Brown’ by alternating stripes every 3 rows, and so far I couldn’t be happier.

And with that, Monday greets me and I must spend some time doing things other than knitting. What’s on your needles for the winter?


  1. fabulous colours. I’ve got socks, a shawl and a cowl on the needles for winter

  2. I love the color combination on the Jaywalkers!

    I’ve got Christmas knitting and a February Lady Sweater just waiting for a few more repeats until completion!

  3. tinebeest · ·

    Great colours on the socks and the gloves aren’t bad, either! At art school we were never allowed to use brown. I remember it was very difficult to get my head around the concept that tree trunks are not brown, at the age of 8, but eventually I got there. I think. πŸ˜‰

  4. I can help you out with the name “Pilsen” — it’s a neighborhood in Chicago. Many of the Lorna’s Laces colorways are named after neighborhoods, such as Lakeview (my neighborhood, BTW), Ravenswood, etc. Pilsen is now largely Hispanic neighborhood with lots of yummy Mexican restaurants, but it used to be the home of many Czech immigrants. I think it’s a Czech name.

    Brown can be gorgeous, and I love it mixed with pink and with robin’s egg blue. My needles are busy with holiday presents (scarves and hats), as well as mini hats and mittens for an advent calendar garland.

  5. ladyoctavia · ·

    Yeah brown!! The socks and glove look lovely! (I must confess to liking mittens better because thumbs are fun but fingers are a pain, how are you finding this pattern?)

    Officially I’ve only got Dad’s sweater and the never-ending lace shawl on right now, but I’ll likely be casting on an other shawl (I just got some malabrigo lace in the mail…) a couple pairs of socks, and I’ll eventually get around to casting on the leggings I’ve already done the math for… and I really really really want to make myself one of these:

  6. Ooooooh, I love that Pilsen! Gorgeous colourway. πŸ™‚

  7. I decided I needed a few warm accessories for the colder months – I’ve got a scarf 3/4 of the way done and just started some gloves (oddly enough in a handpaint with browns and purples together!), plus my fair isle vest. Plenty to keep me busy!

  8. Elizabeth L in Apex, NC · ·

    I love the striped gloves! I’m going to have to hunt for that pattern. I’ve got going (or will have very, very shortly) six pairs of Fiber Trends felted clogs (which thankfully fly off the needles), a scarf to felt and another one after that, a wrap, two pairs of fingerless mitts and two sweaters that are well on their way. I actually think I’m going to make it, too!

  9. Brown does look nice with mint and pale blue and pink: all the pastels!!! Nice Jaywalkers. Mine have worn out, I must make another pair!! Lovely gloves too. Oh how I yearn for a wall of yarn!!

  10. I’ve got socks, fingerless gloves and a sweater on the go….I’ve got a bit of startitis on the go, but I need more yarn to finish the sweater, and the fingerless gloves are a pattern change…..

  11. Lovely socks & gorgeous colors. Unfortunately, we are heading into summer, so I am just knitting socks .

  12. Northmoon · ·

    Those socks are loud! Nothing subtle about those colours.

    I’ve got a shawl and socks on the needles – started recently for Xmas gifts, and a pair of pulse warmers that were waiting for cooler weather to be needed.

    You reminded me that I’ve also got an incomplete pair of gloves that I must dig out and finish soon. Plus a cardigan that I got discouraged with last spring and haven’t touched since. And the Manon sweater that had gauge issues.

    I’ll probably end up starting (and hopefully completing) a few other Christmas presents that I have planned before I finish some of these older projects.

  13. Brown is the new black – my fav. neutral! It looks great with that pink, blue is also a fav. “perk up” to brown.

    I was making good progress on Bonnie (fall twist), then decided to “cast on” for Wisteria. Can’t put it down…

  14. I know that I wouldn’t have been caught dead knitting something in pink or green until this year. I’ve finally loosened up in the ‘knitting things for other people’ area, and I’m starting to investigate greens that won’t make me look yellow.

    For the winter, I have a beaded Adama Shawl, a pair of socks, and an Eiffel that I started out hating, but I think is going to turn out quite well. I also discovered Jorid Linvik and her awesome mitten designs, so hopefully I’ll be tackling a few of those in the next few months.

  15. I love pink and brown together. Your jaywalkers look great!

    I have a holiday gift scarf on the needles and plans to make two pairs of fingerless gloves for gifts. I’m contemplating my next sweater which will be for my husband.

  16. I love the colors that you choose. I have been steering away from brown, too, but I think I might work into it — maybe a soft caramel color — after I finish the purple sweater I am working on. I tend to stay in the blue/purple/green family, but it may be time for a change.
    Thanks for the inspiration.



  17. Your knits look lovely. I am going to try and start Gloria this winter, I might finish it by next then!!

  18. I switched to brown from a year’s long love affair with black and then grey. I can’t believe how well it goes with purple and red and citrusy green! I’ve just fallen head over heels in love with Ysolda’s cabled cardi “Vivian” – its going to fill my January!

    (I’ve also jotted the pattern book number for the gloves in my travelling knitknotebook – I’m going to keep my eyes open for that one!)

  19. I love brown with pink or purple. Your knits look lovely!

  20. I love that knitting gives us a new perspective on ‘our’ colours – I also love the idea of spending a month considering colour habits – you’d know them well if you had done nothing else :o)

  21. Lovely post! And it just so happens that pink and brown is one of my favorite color combos. Brown gets pretty friendly around baby blue, turquoise, lavender, and red, too…

  22. Pilsner is (was?) a brand of Czechoslovakian beer.

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